5 Awesome Things About High School

Having been out of high school for six years now, I’m able to look back at my experience with warm fuzzies and nostalgia. The self-loathing, the drama, the devastating outfit choices: It all seems like so much fun in retrospect! Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that the cheese mostly stands alone. Today when the topic of high school is broached, most people groan and say some variation of, “So glad that’s over. That shit was traumatizing.” What gives? Am I the only one that liked high school? Am I the only that remembers it accurately? Here are five things that were awesome about it.

1. Your teachers were hilarious freaks on leashes

High schools usually had a few teachers that were good at their job and were perhaps inspiring. More often than not though, they were unstable messes that made going to class an unpredictable and fun time! Or maybe it was just my high school. I had a teacher who was so obsessed with Star Trek that she wore space outfits to school and made us call her Captain. I had another teacher who was only 21 when she taught a class of 18-year-old seniors. Her spirit was fragile and young, and we terrorized her mercilessly. Students stole office supplies from her desk and left ransom notes signed, The Black Bandits. Things finally came to a head when she left the classroom to go speak to someone, and all of the students left and decided to have a dance-off in the quad. The next week she quit.

The weirdest experience I ever had though was with my AP History teacher. She was also very young, maybe 24, and she couldn’t teach for shit. She was pretty cool though and we ended up sparking up a friendship, which, in hindsight, became pretty bizarre. At the time I had just come out of the closet and was the token gay kid in school. She loved that for some reason and would ask me for boyfriend advice. One time she actually made me listen to a voicemail an ex left her and asked for my opinion. I was like, “Um, I don’t know. I still dye my hair blue sometimes.” When I graduated, she even made me a mixed CD with all of these Siouxsie and the Banshee songs. The weirdest part is that she used a picture of herself as the cover art. Uh…

Looking back, I feel kind of bad about how poorly some teachers got treated. And I also can’t believe how young some of them were! Most of them were in their early 20s and were probably still just as crazy as us—sleeping with people who didn’t mean a thing to them and getting drunk on the weekends. Weird.

2. Your classmates were hilarious freaks on leashes

While everyone can be strange in high school, there were always the select few who actually seemed crazy and provided you and your friends with a bottomless pit of hilariry. They’d be given snarky nicknames, watched in awe, and taunted by the class. In a sick way, the teasing acted as a unifier because it became the one thing that everyone could agree upon—this person is the class freak and we’re going to be little shits to them.

There was this one kid in my drama class though who was more terrifying than funny. He had the misfortune of being 4 feet tall and 500 pounds. I couldn’t help but feel a natural inclination to be sweet to him knowing that being overweight is difficult at any age, but during adolescence it can be truly devastating. But I quickly found out he was racist, homophobic, and generally a total fuckhead. He would say the most politically incorrect things in class—truly deplorable things—and you would just want to strangle him. Back then all you knew how to do was fight hate with hate so whenever he would say something offensive, we would just fire back with cruel jokes. We thought we were being progressive!

3. You see your friends 24/7

During high school, your friends truly become your family. You kind of hate your mom and dad (for legitimate or illegitimate reasons) and you just want to spend every waking hour with your buddies. I remember my best friend Kristy and I would just spend every moment together doing nothing. She would come over to my house and sometimes we wouldn’t even hang out. She would go into my computer room and I would lie in bed, and we would just exist together. As you get older, you lose that luxury with jobs and relationships. But high school is that brief moment in your life when it’s not really possible to miss your friends. It’s probably the thing I long for the most because missing people sucks.

4. You’ve never drank/done drugs/had sex!

Unless you were a little girl lost like Drew Barrymore, high school was probably the first time you ever indulged in drinking, drugs, or sex. OMG, wasn’t it so fun in the beginning? Weren’t hangovers, bad sex, and brain damage sort of a blast? Things have changed now obviously. Chances are you’ve been there, drank and fucked that. You’ve learned that beginnings can be better than middles or ends, and sometimes you just want to go back to that first time before something disappointed you and caused you to harden. But you can’t. Nope. Not ever. Your period of discovery and innocence is over. Please join the line of jaded people at the left!

5. Nothing really matters

High school is four years of your life that amount to little consequence. Life gifts you this time to realize that flared jeans aren’t right for your body type, blue hair is not a good look for you, and doing mushrooms is almost always a bad idea. At the time, I realized how special all of it was and I tried to enjoy everything as much as I could. But I’m also aware that everyone is different and that high school can be a miserable place for reasons that are completely beyond someone’s control. No matter what though, I feel like everyone was able to derive some joy from weird teachers and classmates, close friendships, and general youthful innocence. Right? TC mark

image – Clueless

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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  • matty

    “You’ve learned that beginnings can be better than middles or ends, and sometimes you just want to go back to that first time before something disappointed you and caused you to harden.”

    that is so true it makes me so nostalgic. and i am still in high school.
    you guys rock.

  • kristy

    High school WAS fucking great. We can't help that we were so popular! Maybe were not in that book because everyone likes us…

  • Ugh

    high school sucked arse and doing mushrooms is always a good idea. You had a good time at high school, which is why you are boring now.

    • Haha

      i'm sorry but ryan o' connell and his articles/life are anything but boring…….

  • PERFECTCIRCLES

    I was the 21 year old teacher. The reason I quit had little to do with you ungrateful kids.

    • efrank

      Ohhh Shiyat.

  • mooochelle

    High school sucked ass, but maybe that's because I grew up in a super-conservative little town. My college friends are way more like family (because we actually live together)!

  • rilez

    I was all jazzed about being in college and done with that part of my life. Until I had the epiphany that was this article. Now I feel sad. In high school… especially early high school, I didn't have SHIT to worry about. We also had a young teacher. He was a Jehovah Witness and like… 22, so he took a lot of shit. A group of guys set up like 10 alarm clocks in his room all hidden and set them to all go off like thirty seconds apart in the middle of class. I also remember this girl I sat next to in his classed had the realization that she was sleeping with a guy a year older than him. She was a whore though, and her “boyfriend” drove a raper van.

  • http://twitter.com/DMULLOL dee-bo

    thanks for reminding me that my innocence is gone :'(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505759069 Julian Tully Alexander

    Parts of this are true, but you are definitely making it seem better then all of those things listed were in reality.

  • Christie

    Screw University, I'm going back to high school.
    Easiest 5 years of my life.
    I think I even miss the drama.

  • Anonymous

    HS was awesome for the reasons you mention, but it was also a pressure cooker like no other.

    HS is also working your ass off – studying for your AP classes until the wee hours of the night, running around afterschool jumping through hoops named “extracurricular activities”, “being extraordinary”, and “showing leadership”. There is no other time that you can make such a huge impact on your future – an awesome HS resume makes the difference between an Ivy League future and every door open to you, or a medium-prestige college and having to pry those metaphorical doors open until you've established yourself.

    On top of this, you have friend drama, existential drama, growing up drama, all more amplified than any issues or crisis you'll have in the future.

    And on top of this, if you're female you have to put in the requisite time to be hot (sports teams and gym visits, researching stylish clothes, and dredging through the selection at your local shopping mall to reproduce those styles on your tiny budget, waking up early to straighten your hair), or your day to day life will suck.

    And on top of *all* that, you don't even have adult comforts available to you. Deciding if dinner will be chicken or fish, deciding you've worked really hard this week and you can blow off steam by staying out late with your friends on Friday, or deciding if you have the *privledge* of transportation to run to the store and pick up stuff you need – all that is at the whim of your parents. Falling asleep with your significant other, smoking a joint in the evening, and having a glass of wine are rare pleasures only open to you on the DL.

    So yea, don't forget that HS sucks, too.

    • shoehorn

      a curious look into the life/mind of a normal person..

    • Guesty Guest

      what the fuck are you talking about

  • Madame Nostalgia

    French teachers almost always go insane.

    I had this French teacher in grade 10 who was kind of a hippie. She didn't wear bras or shave her legs and would talk about how her family didn't have a television, she was kind of soft and kids would push her around and generally mouth off. About halfway through the year she was showing a film probably “Telefrancais!” and the group of skaters in the back started flicking elastics at her. She broke down and cried and proceeded to turn off the lights and put her head down on the desk. She told us all to get out. We never saw her again.

  • jx

    “and we would just exist together”

    :')

  • http://twitter.com/cutsyjules91 Julie

    i loved high school- friendships seemed so much more real and crucial

  • http://www.behance.net/clifwith1f clifwith1f

    What's funny is how grown up you think you are in high school. Even though you only have 0.1% of responsibility, you think you're above something so inane as high school (“too cool for school”) and want to jump head first into the real world.

  • mr.oldschooler

    Man do I miss High School!!!!! I was the man there!! I went to a small highschool and my classmates and I were like family!! We also had the best teachers ever!! Young ones, old ones, but they were just awesome. I was in the high school rock band, and when I played piano on stage everyone thought I was Jerry Lee Lewis! We made movies and other fun stuff. Then I went to college… and that reallyyyyyy sucked. College sucks compared to high school.

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